Nonprofits Don’t Belong In Social Media

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photo credit: hotblack

nonprofits don’t belong in social media

There, I wrote it for all to see.  It’s on record.

When asked to speak to staff or volunteers of nonprofit organizations the top requested topic is how my organization made $75,000 in four days through Facebook.

Despite my effort to explain, in excruciating detail, that infamous Facebook status update was the last step in a 18+ month process and it was on a whim — everyone seeks that quick shiny button to press for instant success.

social media is not the lottery

You can’t buy a ticket for a dollar, sit back and realize completed fundraising campaigns or financial solvency.  Additionally unlike the spam e-mails you cannot for $10,000 receive your share of the $50 million being held by the government of Andar.  EVERY social media success story whether it be a brand, organization or individual has had to bust their butts to achieve success.

nonprofits don’t belong in social media

unless:

  • Providing great experiences in real life
    Portray a different image online and you will be called out in social media and good luck in re-establishing credibility if the gap is huge.
  • All promises are kept
    donorschoose.org is held in high regard because they keep their promise — with photos and everything.
  • Easy to understand
    If you cannot explain what your cause is in 140 characters or less, start over.  Simplicity rules.
  • Easy to talk to
    If that Facebook post from a donor, member, or customer sits unacknowledged for a week, why have the page?
  • In it for the long haul
    The reason we hear and read about the amazing “overnight” successes is because they are so rare and amazing.  Plan to not be one.
  • Tug hearts not wallets
    A great story on how your organization is changing the world for the better resonates more than the raffles, auctions, events, fundraisers and coupons littering your stream.
  • Real
    Social media is not one big press release platform.  Be real and others will begin to brag about you so you don’t have to in social media.
  • Successful offline
    I’ve actually been in a room when someone said, “well, we might not make payroll, so we may as well try social media now”.  Social media projects who, what and where you are offline, it does not hide or save it.
  • Willingness to learn
    Patience goes a long way and learning can make social media more useful, engaging and fruitful.  Learn to crawl, walk and then run.
  • Ready to fail
    Every initiative has an element of risk.  Venturing into social media is no exception.  Is your organization positioned for trial and error?

The social media community is one of the most genuine, caring and sharing groups on the planet.  The helpful resources are endless to establish a profound social media presence.  Seek them out or simply ask.

Nonprofits don’t belong in social media unless they really have it “going on” outside of it.

Am I missing something?  What do you think?